Every once in a while we stumble across a band and we wonder where the heck have they been? Sometime last year that happened with us when we discovered a New York blues band called Fife & Drom that is steeped in the tradition of the delta blues. The band is the collaborative effort of NYC-based musicians Abby Ahmad and Mark Marshall. Established in 2012, Fife & Drom write original blues tunes inspired by the works of all the pioneers of the genre.Their name pays tribute to fife and drum blues music, a highly influential genre which emerged from Mississippi, the heart of Delta blues.
There is a whole lot more to this band than slick guitar playing and trust us Mark Marshall is a fantastic player that can hold his own with anyone on the scene today. The vocals of Abby Ahmad reach out and grab a hold of the listener on the debut album(EP) aptly titled “Introducing Fife & Drom” that will be officially released March 18. This 7 song release is very solid in so many ways. The first song “Wicked Tongue” launches with a very catchy guitar riff by Marshall and Abby wastes no time at all displaying what she came for. She came here to sing and she can sing with the best of the best. Some well placed harp work is added in just a few spots to compliment the tune as opposed to over powering it. The track ends with Ahmad showcasing her soulful and powerful voice. This song paves the way nicely for a the next six songs. Track two is a country blues tune called “Barnburner” that will surely get you out on the dance floor.
They say good things come to those who wait so we did our part and waited patiently for this album. It was clearly time well spent because this is top shelf material. The album continues with a song called Ghosts that comes equipped with a bit of a haunting melody and some very tasty guitar work. This band is tight and they are all veteran players with a deep love for the tradition of the blues. The album ends on a softer note with a beautiful piano ballad called Please, Please, Please that once again allows Abby to let it all hang out with her awesome voice.
We’d be hard pressed to select a favorite on here but if we had to it would be a toss-up between Wicked Tongue and Ghosts. Bassist/vocalist Adam Minkoff does a great job of laying down the bottom end throughout the release, with Sean Dixon providing the percussion in near perfect synchronicity.
There is not a weak track on here, front to back this is as good a piece of work as you will find. Get this album, you will not be disappointed. Also, make sure you come back to the American Blues Scene website at 9AM Wednesday March 12th for a chance to stream the album on the internet.